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Who are Jon Snow’s Parents? Is Jon Snow a Targaryen?



Credit: HBO

Jon Snow is a character whose journey fans closely followed for the entirety of the show Game of Thrones. The supposed bastard son of Ned Stark, as we learned at the beginning of the show, did not receive familial love from Catelyn Stark and Sansa Stark. While Ned treated him like a son and the other Stark siblings also made Jon Snow feel included, he also felt like an outcast in the Stark family.

The question of Jon Snow’s lineage has left many fans scratching their heads. It is undoubtedly an integral part of the story. George R.R. Martin allowed the creators of Game of Thrones to adapt the story on one condition: They had to guess Jon’s mother correctly after just reading the first five books.

The rest is history. Here is a breakdown of Jon Snow’s family tree to get an insight into who his parents were and what lineage he came from.

Also Read: According to this theory Rhaegar was Azor Ahai and Jon Snow is his Lightbringer

Quick Answer: Jon Snow is the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen. The High Septon officiated the couple’s marriage, thereby making Jon Snow a legitimate Targaryen heir with a rightful claim to the Iron Throne. Jon Snow’s Targaryen name is Aegon Targaryen.

Who is Jon Snow’s mother?

Jon Snow's uncertain future

Credit: HBO

The first five seasons of the show lead us to believe there is nothing special about Jon Snow, a bastard Stark son. A lowly woman whom Ned Stark met at some brothel is believed to be Jon Snow’s mother. This sparks some confusion since Ned is a man of principle and never strays away from his duty. How could he cheat on Catelyn Stark, the mother of his children?

The most famous fan theory that was popularized when the show was still on air was the R+L=J theory. Fans had guessed that Jon Snow is the son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen because Ned Stark is not capable of breaking his oath and he never calls Jon Snow his son. He only refers to him as his blood.

The truth about Jon Snow’s parents comes to light at the end of season six. Marking an end to the baffling mystery, we see Bran Stark on his way to becoming the Three-eyed Raven. He peeks into the past to witness Lyanna Stark giving birth to a baby.

She is in a castle with her brother Ned Stark by her side. Lyanna makes Ned promise her that he will protect the baby from Robert Baratheon who was Lyanna’s ex-fiance. The baby grows up to be Jon Snow, whom Ned protects at all costs.

Also Read: Kit Harrington’s Jon Snow spinoff is reportedly stuck in developmental hell

Who is Lyanna Stark?

young lyanna stark knight of the laughing tree theory

Credit: HBO

Lyanna Stark is Ned Stark’s younger sister who was known to be extremely beautiful and elegant. Robert Baratheon became smitten with her and the two got engaged. However, a rumor spread that Rhaegar Targaryen kidnapped Lyanna to fulfill his desire and defiled her. This rumor sparked a rebellion that dethroned the Targaryens and crowned Robert as the King of the Seven Kingdoms.

When Bran looked into the past, he realized that Lyanna and Rhaegar were in love. They eloped at their own discretion and even had a kid together. That kid is Jon Snow, who lived his life under the protection of his mother’s brother Ned Stark. Jon Snow’s father is not Ned Stark, but Rhaegar Targaryen.

Also Read: Liam Cunningham wants to join Jon Snow  spinoff, tells Kit Harrington: “Better Call Davos”

Who is Rhaegar Targaryen?

Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark

Credit: HBO

The Targaryen family tree is as complicated as it gets. With instances of incest and bastard children, the dynasty is replete with many affairs and complicated relationships. Game of Thrones pilot introduces us to a world where Robert Baratheon is King after rebelling and dethroning the Mad King, Aerys II. Rhaegar Targaryen is the son of Aerys II and Rhaella, brother of Daenerys and Viserys Targaryen.

After Lyanna and Rhaegar fall in love with each other, they decide to elope. There’s a theory that suggests Robert Baratheon knew Lyanna rejected him to be with Rhaegar, and hence got jealous. He purposefully started the rumor of Rhaegar kidnapping and raping Lyanna to destroy his claim to the throne. Ned Stark’s hands were also tied since he could not reveal the truth and that Jon Snow was their son.

Daenerys comes back stronger with the support of the Dothraki and her dragons to claim the throne for herself, since after Viserys’s death, she is the next in line Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. Her entire journey is built towards her growth and power as she makes her way through the neighboring countries of Westeros and garners popular support.

Is Jon Snow a Targaryen?

Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen

Credit: HBO

In the world of Game of Thrones, bastard kids are given surnames based on where they are born. Since he was born in the North as per earlier speculations, Jon was called Snow. However, after people get to know he is Lyanna’s son, they claim him Jon Sand, since he must have been born in Dorne.

The penultimate twist comes when Gilly and Sam discover crucial documents at the Citadel in the show. They learn Jon is not a bastard son at all. The High Septon annulled Rhaegar’s marriage to Elia Martell before he married him to Lyanna, making Jon the legitimate son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen.

Moreover, Jon was given the name Aegon at birth. He lived a life of degradation and insult for being a bastard Snow. But in reality, he is a true-born Targaryen named Aegon, the rightful heir to the throne of the Seven Kingdoms.

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The biggest complaint people have with the show Game of Thrones is Jon Snow’s fate, or as we should say Aegon Targaryen’s fate. He deserved to sit on the throne as the rightful ruler because he was just, kind, and level-headed. Whereas, other ill-tempered rulers inflicted pain and agony on the entire realm. Being a Targaryen, Aegon was the perfect choice to wear the crown and bring an era of peace and harmony to Westeros.

Also Read: John Bradley explains why Jon Snow and Sam are best friends despite opposing personalities


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Vidhi has been an entertainment writer for the past 4 years. She has a knack for identifying subtleties and intricacies of movies and television shows that can add a new dimension to her content. Having watched Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon countless times, she knows most details by heart and thrives in trivia contests related to the same!